Elite 8 Tournament Wraps Up in Erie - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Elite 8 Tournament Wraps Up in Erie

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Vonnita Elliott defines dedication.

The West Texas A&M student drove 20 hours from Texas to Erie, to watch the Lady Buffs compete in the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Elite 8 tournament.

"We had the regional's and they won, and I said, I want to go to Erie," said Elliott.  "So we decided to take off after I had a test Monday morning."

Tim Vessels traveled from Texas by plane, to watch his daughter compete in the tournament.

"It was a great trip," said Vessels.  "We've enjoyed Erie thoroughly."

Bentley fans also enjoyed their time in Erie.  Especially after their team won it all.

Bentley rallied to defeat West Texas A&M 73-65, to become the champions of NCAA Division II Women's Basketball.

"I think it's a team of destiny," said Bentley fan Barb Kimble.  "They suffered a hard loss in the Sweet 16 last year, when they were destined to go further, and I think that was bittersweet for them.  So I think they remembered that, and I think that fueled the fire for a win tonight."

According to Casey Wells of the Erie Convention Center Authority, the tournament is just one of the many events that have made the newly renovated arena a huge success.

From the success of the Erie Otters who just signed a five year deal with the arena as they push for a championship, to the string of concerts that have brought in large crowds, Wells says the feedback has been great.

"Across the board, it's been tremendous," said Wells.  "It's been very well received.  Operationally, I think we've done a good job.  There are some things we've identified that we can approve upon, and we're working on that every day."

As for the possibility of bringing the tournament back to Erie...

"We do have our bids out for the next four years, so it won't be within the next four years," said NCAA Championship Manager Kelsey Cermak.  "But we have had a fantastic experience here, so it's always a possibility to come back."


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